the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
The place to fight sin and lawlessness and corruption is in human hearts.
All other victories will be only temporary unless we gain the triumph
here of our King. The human heart
is the real stronghold of lawlessness, rebellion and evil.
If it is subdued and cleansed, and the King rules there, the other
victories are easy. Forms of evil,
strange, terrible and glaring, have prevailed in the world since the days of
Cain and Abel. Legislation has been
designed by all nations and societies to suppress iniquity, but evil has only
become more sophisticated and survived every program to curb or eradicate it. Men have promoted education to reform the habits and
propensities of men, but beneath the veneer of culture vulgar passions still
possess the heart. Men have even
tried to cast the evil out, to exorcise the unclean spirit, but sin only finds
new refinements and assumes different forms.
In despair of final victory men have come to believe that sin cannot be
A brother related how that some years ago, when he was in Chicago, on the
ground of some technicality, three hundred prisoners who had been convicted of
crimes were released from prison.
Three hundred men with criminal instincts were turned loose upon the
community by a mere technicality of law! If
the Governor of any state who had the power should go to the state prisons and
pardon every criminal, he would be impeached.
Why, the people would not stand for it.
Criminals turned loose into the homes and into the streets would multiply
criminals, and crime would be even more rampant.
But suppose the Governor of
Illinois, in which that prison I have mentioned was located, not only had the
power to pardon and let them out, but had the power to take criminality out of
their hearts, and make every one of them an honest, good man — then I would say,
“Governor, turn them all loose, and if there are ten thousand of them, all the
If we could find a man like that and place him in the jails and prisons
of earth, among men who knew they were guilty of crime, and make them believe
that he had the power not only to pardon, but to take the criminality out of
their natures, with all the shame of their sin, and put them back in the place
of honor they occupied before they committed crime, I tell you, he would be the
most popular man, not only among the prison administrators and guards, but among
the prisoners as well! They would be willing to build him a monument, giving him
all the glory they could. Such a
man would have a monument that would touch the stars. Jesus Christ is that
Man. That is what Jesus Christ
has done by making Himself King by His sacrificial love.
He has gained for Himself the glory not only of removing guilt, but of
removing defilement and uncleanness from every one who will trust Him.
He is the Saviour of all men, and in due time shall win all hearts and
purify all lives. That, my friend, is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
The Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God over all. The foundation of this Kingdom is in the human heart.
The world has not yet witnessed anything like the total and absolute
government of God, except in the life of Jesus.
But there has been an increase of His Kingdom from generation to
generation and from age to age. A
new order is now coming forth in the earth!
The hour of the completion of the body of Christ that has been forming in
the earth for the past two millenniums is now at hand.
The age of the reigning of Christ in and through the manifested sons of
God is now ready to be revealed. The
reign of Christ in our lives is being confirmed as Father changes us, renews our
minds, increases our vision, strengthens our faith, and transforms our natures.
When He removed all the old religious traditions and doctrines and ideas
that were not of Him, our Father was preparing us for the pure and holy and
righteous reign of God in us and through us.
In this new Day the love of God and the power of God shall prevail.
The elect of God who are beholding the face of the Lord and being changed
into His likeness are the highest expression of the Kingdom of God in the earth.
To them shall be given the Kingdom and the Dominion over all things that
they may reign in love, mercy, goodness, power and righteousness, not forcing
men to obey, but imparting to all men
the transforming grace of God in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost
If every man’s heart were pure
all the evil and weaknesses and wrongs of society would be solved over night.
No further movements, legislation, programs or enforcement would be
necessary anywhere. Crime would
disappear. Murders would cease.
Violence would be heard no more in the land.
The streets and schools and homes would be cleared of illegal drugs. Gangs would disband themselves.
All streets would be safe twenty-four hours a day so that any young woman
could safely walk about anywhere at any time. Wars would suddenly come to an end. Oppression and bigotry would no more raise their shameful
standards. This one simple reality —
Christ ruling as King in the human heart — brings
to earth the power and glory of the Kingdom of God! Nothing else is needed.
And nothing else will do.
The Indian mystic Sundar Singh related the following story.
“A man of God saw in a vision that he had gone into a strange country.
When he arrived there he was astonished that the people of that land came
out and welcomed him with joy, as if he were a long-lost brother, or a friend
who had just returned to them. He
went into the city with them, and saw great mansions in which were all kinds of
costly furniture and appliances, but their owners had gone out and left them
open. He asked some of the men why
this was, and they said, ‘There are no thieves here. As long as men’s hearts are locked up to God, so long do
they need to lock their doors. But
when the door of the heart is open to God, and He lives in it, then there is no
need to put a lock on any door; for where the Kingdom of God is in the heart it
is the Kingdom of love, where each
serves the other in love and desires only his good.”
There would never be a broken home, a heartbroken wife or husband, or
deserted and destitute children if the nature of God was written in all men’s
hearts. There would be no evil or
trouble anywhere on earth if the nature of God was written on all men’s hearts
giving them a heart in the likeness of His own and a mind as the mind of Christ.
From the redeemed and transformed heart the law (nature) of God flows
forth as a river of life. We still have those among us who thunder the letter of the
law from Sinai’s mount — but all such will change
their tune if ever they stand with the Lamb of God at Calvary’s hill, for
there they find God removing His law from the external tables of stone to write
them upon the fleshy tables of the hearts of new born men, who no longer keep the law because they cringe in
fear, but because the spirit of that law has become their nature, the law
of life within them. Can you
imagine the United States’ Government passing one sweeping law that says,
“WE FORBID ANYMORE CRIME OF ANY KIND” — and it worked!. Impossible.
Laws are on the outside; you read them, you think about them, but few
fully obey them. So laws cannot
change the inner man; nor can the best of natural men follow the totality of any
laws laid down in his behalf. That
is why there is such torment and slavery under the law, for we have become aware
now of what God defines as sin, yet we struggle with it nonetheless. But when the law is written in the heart no longer do men try to
love God contrary to nature, but now, because they possess the nature of God,
love, joy and righteousness flow like a river from the heart.
Herein lies the wonderful significance of the great truth Jesus
proclaimed when he said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation
(outward show): neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17:20-21).
There are still those among us who imagine that Jesus Christ is coming
back to earth with literal armies to ENFORCE LAW AND ORDER.
But should the Lord come in such a physical way to establish His Kingdom
by force it could only result in a world full of immense prisons and
unprecedented numbers of executions. Blood
would flow in the streets of every city and village deeper than in any
revolution or war of history. It
would demand a tyranny surpassing that of either Hitler or Stalin.
It is my deep conviction that social issues, economic issues,
and political issues can be dealt with adequately only at the level of individual conversion. When
the firstborn Son of God came into the world to reveal the salvation of God and
the Kingdom of God, He did not engage directly in social welfare work, or attack
directly the social structure of the existing society.
Instead He gave Himself to the task of converting, remaking,
transforming, and training twelve apparently unimportant men.
These men, filled with the Holy Spirit of wisdom, holiness and power went
forth converting, remaking and transforming the lives of countless multitudes of
men and women in every nation under heaven.
The ministry of Jesus and that of the early Church is the proto type of the Kingdom of God.
As the sons of God, destined to bring deliverance to the whole creation,
dare we follow in the footsteps of
HIS holy wisdom? The heart of any
social, economic or political problem lies in the hearts of individual men and
women. New social structures and
systems, new laws, new judicial systems, new political systems, new economic
systems can never solve the world’s problems so long as the heart of man
remains selfish. Only when men pass
over by conversion from self-centeredness to God-centeredness can the Kingdom of
God become a living reality on earth. All
of our external problems — race, nationalism, war, crime,
poverty, oppression, sickness, death — all of these are but the
external symptoms of an internal, deep-seated disease — the sin of
self-centeredness. The only
strategy that will be victorious in
the warfare against social and other problems is an offensive directed
not at a nation, or its institutions, but against the human heart!
The point of attack is the state of being of man himself.
The objective of attack is the conversion and transformation of man with
the law of God written in his heart. If
every policeman in America were a godly, Spirit-filled evangelist, more would be
accomplished for law and order than all the guns and jails in the whole world.
If every soldier in the world were a missionary filled with the spirit of
wisdom and power from God, more would be accomplished for world peace and the
betterment of society than all the wars of history have wrought.
I tell you the truth. Think
of it! What incredible wisdom Jesus
revealed that day when He set forth the principle of the Kingdom — “Behold,
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU!”
THE KING WITHIN
Men would rather crown Jesus King in Jerusalem, Israel or in London, England than in their own hearts. Let us suppose that Jesus is crowned King in the city of Jerusalem — suppose He returned in that same nail-scarred body; suppose He sat upon a throne ruling over the Kingdom of God on earth in the Holy Land, at Jerusalem. I can tell you, dear ones, that every airplane flying to the Middle East would be loaded with people going to see Jesus. Every mail-bag would be full of letters from those sick and afflicted, those in difficulty and trial, and gifts of homage to manifest men’s gratitude and love. You yourself, let us say, are on one of those airplanes. And I do not doubt for one moment that even many who read these lines would be scrambling for tickets to Israel! The Ben-Gurion International Airport, when you arrive after your long flight, is blocked with planes from every nation.
After circling the airport for a dangerously long time you land, and
board one of the multitude of tourist buses headed from Tel Aviv up to
Jerusalem. Far as the eye can
reach, the traffic creeps over the highways in an endless stream.
You do not mind the scorching sun, the choking dust, the rude drivers,
the elbowing crowds. You are in the
Capital of the Kingdom of God on earth, and you will see Jesus!
Yonder, at last, in the far distance, are the glittering spires of
the Holy Hill, above the burnished temple dome beneath which He sits.
But what is that dark seething mass stretching for miles and miles
between you and the Holy City? They
have come from the north and from the south, and from the east and from the
west, as you have, to look upon their King.
They wish that His hands might be placed upon their head; that His arms
might be thrown around them; that His eyes of compassion and love might be fixed
upon them, and His voice of power fall into their ears.
But it cannot be. You have
come to have an audience with the King, but you will not see Him!
They have been there for weeks, months, years, and have not seen Him.
They are a meter or two nearer, and that is all.
The thing is impossible. It
is an anti-climax, and absurdity. It
would be a social outrage; it would be a physical impossibility.
If there were only one hundred million saints of God in the whole world, gathered out of all ages, and each scheduled a personal interview with Jesus; should Jesus spend only ten minutes with each; it would be exactly 1901.3 years before your turn would come, and then another two thousand years before your next ten minute audience with the King! And during all that time Jesus would not have attended to any matters in the entire universe other than these interviews twenty-four hours a day, unceasingly for millenniums! It should be obvious to every thinking mind that knowing Christ and crowning Him King and communing with Him and walking with Him must be upon some basis other than His individual, physical, appearance upon a material throne somewhere in the world!
So He says to all today who would crown Him in Jerusalem or in London or
in any other place where He might be found, “It is very kind and earnest of
you to come so far, but you mistake. Go
away back from the walls of the Holy City, over the sea, and you will find Me in
your own home. You will find Me
where the shepherds found Me, doing their ordinary work; where the woman of
Samaria found Me, drawing the water for the noon meal; where the disciples found
Me, mending nets in their work clothes; where Mary found Me, among the
commonplace household duties of a country village; where, since the day of
Pentecost, all who have sought Me have found Me — within their very own
hearts.” “If a man love me,
he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with Him. Yet a
little while, and the world seeth me no
more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that time ye shall know that I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YE IN ME, AND I IN
YOU” (Jn. 14:19-20,23).
Would that I had language to express a truth so infinite! The visible incarnation of God in the physical man Jesus Christ must of necessity be brief. Only a small circle could enjoy His actual presence, but a great and glorious and universal kingdom like the Kingdom of God needed a risen and glorified King. “I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you...even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you (as Jesus), and shall be in you (as the Spirit). I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (Jn. 17:7; 14:17-18). It was expedient for the whole body of Kingdom subjects that He went away. He would be nearer man by apparently being further. The limitations of sense subjected Him while He stayed. He was subject to geography, locality, space, and time. But by going away in glorification He was able to return in mighty Spirit-power, the incorruptible river of God’s divine and eternal life, to flow and flow and flow, age after age, unceasingly, unlimitedly and untiringly into humanity as LIFE. My soul shouts a thousand hallelujahs that He went away! And He has come again. The King of glory has come to His temple of living stones and is crowned in the throne room in the hearts of redeemed men, new creation men, the sons and daughters of the Most High God! Should Jesus be crowned in the flesh, it would no more bring the Kingdom of God to earth than crowning any of the other kings of the world. We are to crown the Lord, the Spirit, as King in every place in our being, outer and inner.
It was the humiliation of France, in the fifteenth century, that her king
Charles VII, was not crowned in the proper city, where former kings were
crowned. Joan of Arc, burning with
the high resolve to remove this dishonor, and have the king crowned in Rheims,
emerged from obscurity, gathered an army, drove the enemy back from one point to
another, until she dislodged him from Rheims.
The king came then. The
crown was placed upon His brow in the right place; and the fair maiden, Joan,
bowed at the foot of the throne, the tears of joy streaming down her beautiful
cheeks. Where are we to crown our
King? We are to crown Him in the
most sacred and authoritative chamber of our nature from whence proceed the
impulses and propensities of our spiritual life.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven.” So
then the Kingdom of God originates in the realm of spirit (heaven) and finds
expression in the physical realm (earth). If
you walk after the spirit you will
live, you receive the crown of life,
the crown which IS LIFE, the dominion of life out of your spirit.
The authority of life is in the spirit, even the Spirit of Life in Christ
Jesus. And this Spirit of Life is in YOUR SPIRIT, AND FROM THENCE HE
WOULD BE CROWNED AND RULE IN LIFE OVER THE KINGDOM OF YOUR BEING.
Ah, the thing of importance is that the King be crowned in
the right place. We are to crown
Christ as King in every place of authority in this earth, but first and
foremost, in every human heart.
Many years ago a brother wrote of his visit to Westminster Abbey in
London. “I remember how,” he
recounted, “when in the Jerusalem Chamber attached to Westminster Abbey, where
the last revision of the Bible took place, the verger conducted us through a
door, and down a dismal, low-roofed, winding corridor, bare and unadorned. He told us that the heir, or heiress, to the crown of Great
Britain, in former years, had to spend some time in the chamber, and then pass
down this dark and forbidding passageway, to the place in the great
cathedral where the crown was to be received.”
So, precious friend of mine, when you conduct the King to the place of
crowning in your nature, you may have to escort Him down a winding passageway,
intricate with illusions, fears and wild distortions of the carnal mind, dismal
with sin, sickness and weakness, bare and jagged with earthly consciousness and
evil tendencies, on through the gloom and grime of corruption and death, to the
most sacred altar of your heart. There
crown the Omnipotent Ruler — the Spirit — and implore Him to
arise and cleanse and purify all your entire nature every whit.
Bid Him write His laws upon your very heart, so that it cannot beat
unless it beat in conformity with the TRUTH and LOVE and RIGHTEOUSNESS and POWER
and LIFE and VICTORY of the KINGDOM OF GOD’S GLORIOUS CHRIST!
Then you will know the reality and dominion of the Kingdom of God within.
The word “kingdom” is derived from the two terms “king” and
“dominion” — KING’S DOMINION.
It exists wherever the dominion of the Christ rules and holds sway over
the hearts of men. Christ is the great King right now, ruling all things for the
well-being of His subjects and bringing absolute perfection and completion to
His plans which He ordained before the foundation of the world.
He is the King of the ages and invincible.
He is establishing His Kingship in all its power within His elect in the
earth. God’s elect are the seat
of His Kingdom in the earth at this present time.
Though He has all power in heaven and in earth, He is not ruling anywhere
in the measure that He is ruling in the hearts of His beloved sons and daughters
who are being called to His Kingdom and His glory.
He shall yet arise in power and in glory from that throne in His
completed and perfected body — the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD —
reveal Himself as the great conquering King, initiating the mightiest of all
campaigns, bringing deliverance to the whole creation, reconciling all things
unto Himself, and then shall all know the glory of His Kingdom as every tongue
confesses and every knee bows, and all in that day declare that JESUS CHRIST IS
LORD. At the triumph of His Kingdom
sin, sickness, sorrow, pain and death all flee away to be remembered no more in
the consciousness of creation.
He is the great King of kings and Lord of lords, crowned with glory and
honor, and His Kingdom rules over ALL. And,
praise His name, He is even now bringing forth in the earth a KINGDOM PEOPLE —
firstfruits of His redemption — who are
discovering His Lordship over all of their lives.
When all hell assails those who have been called in this day to His
Kingdom, when the power of death all around crowds in upon us and would
suffocate us, when the pressures of this world would frustrate and vex us, when
our own soulish passions and emotions and self-will would drown us in a sea of
carnality and ungodliness, HE THEN STANDS UP WITHIN US AS KING — in
Kingly authority. When the outer
man, the flesh, the carnal mind, mortal consciousness of this gross material
realm, would tear us apart, frustrate our lives, suffocate our inner reality,
and smash our sonship upon the rocks, HE IS THERE, the still small Voice, that
deep, Inward Knowing. Let us learn
of the real and eternal, and make way for the reign of the Spirit, the Kingdom
of Heaven, the rule of His Truth and Love and Life within each one of us.
Thank God, in every situation and circumstance of life HE IS PRESENT TO
SUBDUE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF,
thus reigning as King over our domain. Not
in heaven, not during the millennium, but right now “we see Jesus...CROWNED
with glory and honor” within our own experience.
THE KINGDOM COMES TO EARTH
Yes — the Kingdom of God is within you. Do you yearn, as I do, to see the muck of television and the mire of movies cleaned up, politics made honest and honorable, sexual relationships sanctified, the divorce rate reduced to zero, education employed as an instrument to glorify God, and a thousand other glaring ills of society cured? There is only one way. The rule of God in the hearts of men will transform society in all its relations. The new order of the reign of God works from the inside outward for the renewal and transformation of every department of earthly existence. From the power of the Kingdom goes forth a regenerating power into art, culture, philosophy, politics, commerce, education, science, literature, economics and social programs, and when all these areas have been brought under the control of God’s nature reproduced in men, the Kingdom of God has come in the earth.
None of these objectives can be attained through legislation or coercion, but only by regeneration and transformation. The principle is as clear as it is certain — the Kingdom of God is within you! When God reigns in a man’s life, all of the relations of his life are brought within the sphere of the Kingdom. Your home should be a Kingdom home, with Christ influencing and controlling all its relationships and activities. Your business should be a Kingdom business, not conducted by the spirit and standards of the world, but after the spirit of divine love and righteousness. Your school should be a Kingdom school. Your church should be a Kingdom church, for the Kingdom is greater than the church. Your city should be a Kingdom city. Your state should be a Kingdom state. Your nation should be a Kingdom nation. Your government should be a Kingdom government. And planet earth must become a Kingdom planet. The outer, natural world must be brought under the dominion of the inner, spiritual world. If heaven doesn’t come to earth then the Lord’s prayer is never answered, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” That is happening to us right now as our bodies and souls are brought under the dominion of the life of the indwelling Spirit.
Out of the dominion of the spirit our souls are being saved and even this
mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible shall put on incorruption.
The Holy Spirit is turning us inward.
As we turn from the outer to seek the reality of the Christ within we
discover that our goal in life is not to make money, accumulate things, or
fulfill earthly ambitions and pleasures. If
that is our goal, then we need to set our priorities straight.
You see, in the world within,
that world which you are, there is no
money and there are no things. There
is no need for money and there is no need for things.
The only need for money and things is in the world on the outside.
But if we go out and try to seek that which is on the outside, then we
have left the Kingdom. “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall
we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For after all these things do
the Gentiles (and the prosperity people) seek.
But seek ye first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness...” (Mat.
6:31-33). The Kingdom of God is
within you. The world of the
Kingdom is that inner world of the spirit.
There are two dimensions of “you” — the outer you and the inner
you. Paul refers to these as the
“outward man” and the “inward man”.
“Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by
day” (II Cor. 4:16). The outward
man is the visible, tangible and fleshly. The
inward man is the invisible man of spirit.
The inward man is born of God. Some
people hold the crude notion that should the outer man go by way of the grave
the inner man would likewise perish — you would be gone, unconscious, non-existent, body, soul,
and spirit, until the day of resurrection.
No way! The outward man is
of the earth, the inward man is from heaven.
The outward man is from Adam, the inward man is from Christ.
The outward man is born of the flesh, the inward man is born of the
Christ, and the Spirit would all
have to be susceptible to death in order for the inward man to perish!
To choose or seek anything in the outer world, whether it be a job,
money, relationships, or possessions, must be for the divine purpose of
expressing the inward through the outward.
Anything that does not fulfill that purpose has nothing eternal or of
God-substance or life in it. It is
void. It is vanity. It is temporal. It
So choosing a vocation is not for the purpose of making money, but to
fulfill the will of God, to express
His life and bless the world. The
carnal mind says, “If I live for God and bless the world, then I get nothing
for myself.” But that isn’t
true — because
the real world is not the one out
there, it’s the one within. The
world within is one of love, life, light, joy, peace, grace, faith,
righteousness and blessing. Therefore
the inner world delights to bless all men on whatever level they are, asking
nothing in return. The outer world,
on the other hand, is one of selfishness, ego, pride, avarice, greed,
stinginess, corruption and meanness. The
resources of the inner world are unlimited, for they draw out of God; the
resources of the outer world are finite. People
who live only in the outer world feel they have a right to cheat one another,
take advantage of one another, use one another and oppress one another. You can hardly trust anyone in the business world today,
everybody is out for himself. They
are not for the people they serve, they are in it for what they can get out of it, and they will lie, misrepresent, cheat or
steal to come out on top. Men will
do that to you because they believe that when they do that to you they are not
doing it to themselves, because that’s the way it is out in this world.
They are living by the spirit of the world.
They know nothing of the reality, power, purity, and glory of the inner
world, so their perceptions in the outer world are distorted.
All our choices in the outer world should serve to extend the reality of
what we are in the inner world. When
we choose a job or any activity, we don’t choose on the basis of its value in
the outer world, we choose that which will serve as a vehicle of expression for
the inner man. That’s where peace
is. That’s where joy is.
That’s where fulfillment is. And
that’s where success is! “Seek
ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things
shall be added unto you!” That’s
where the Kingdom is, that’s where life is, that’s where reality is,
that’s where heaven is. So many
people work on their job just to make money, just to pay the bills and put food
on the table. They don’t really like the job and are miserable.
That is what the outer world calls “making a living.”
But making a living is more than making money, for “a man’s life consisteth not
in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15).
To make a living means, first and foremost, to LIVE! It’s making what you are live!
It denotes quality of life, and the only life of quality is the inward
man — Christ.
“She that liveth in pleasure, is dead
while she liveth,” saith the Lord. You
will know true joy when your inward man lives through your outward man, your
inner world is expressed through your outer world.
Matters not what you do outwardly, where you live, what your job is, what
your responsibilities are — when your inward life is dominant all outer things are
affected, sanctified, transformed, swallowed up. As sons of God we are not victims of either money, things, or
circumstances. These are not able
to take away our peace. They are
unable to rob us of our joy. They
cannot take our life. The Christ
within is our peace, our stability, our reality, our substance.
That, my beloved, is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
When the mind of Christ has mightily conquered, the state of things is
called the Kingdom of God. Where
hearts are transformed, where man’s mistaken identity is replaced by the
knowledge of his sonship to God, where communion with the Father is begun and
deepened, there the Kingdom of God has come.
The Kingdom of God brings a way of thinking and living that seems
contrary to logic. It is not
something you could have guessed. It
breaks in. It startles. It overwhelms. It
opens vistas so breathtaking that we can hardly stretch our minds and spirits to
take it in. It is a new, vibrant,
mysterious, revolutionary, dynamic, powerful life-style. Men
and women today can experience the Kingdom of God in their lives.
Anyone in this world who is willing to put
on the mind of Christ and be joined in union
with God can live in its power and glory everyday.
The seventeenth century English mystic, George Fox, penned these
inspirational and instructive words. “The
pearl of the Kingdom of God is hid
in the field, and the field is the world, and the world is in your hearts, and
there you must dig deep to find it; and when you have digged deep and found it,
you must sell all to purchase and redeem this field.
And there you shall know the merchant-man that makes the exchange, and
there you shall know Christ in you the hope of glory, to save you and redeem
you, the Immanuel, God with us. And
there you shall know the woman that lost the piece of silver,
and was seeking it without; but when the candle was lighted and the house
swept, she found it in her own house, and then she did know the joy, and went
and told her neighbors; and then she did know the day-star arise in her heart,
and the day dawning, whereby the light shall be known that shines from the east
to the west, and the word of faith in the mouth and heart, and the oil in thy
lamp if thou enterest in with the bridegroom.
“The light shines in thine own heart
to give thee the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face
of Jesus Christ, from whence it comes, and the anointing which abideth in thee
shall teach thee, and as it doth teach thee, thou shalt continue in the Father
and the Son, from whence this holy unction comes, and thou hast received it, and
here thou shalt know that thou needest no ma to teach thee, but as the same
anointing doth teach thee, and the engrafted word, able to save your souls, is
in your hearts, and the hidden man of the heart which is renewed day by day is
found there, and the meek and quiet spirit, which is with the Lord of great
price, is found in thee, and the covenant of grace that brings salvation is in
thy heart, and in thy mouth, to season it and thy words, and to teach thee to
deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and the heap of teachers set up by men’s
lusts in the world, that turn this grace into wantonness, and live wildly, and
it will teach thee to live soberly.
“The pearl that hath been hid in the earth is found, the anointing within, the word within, the covenant within, the Christ within the inner man, and the morning star is risen, and the day is dawned, and the true light shines, and wisdom, which all the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that man hath cannot comprehend nor find, cries in the streets to the simple ones, that they may receive it, the wisdom of God, even the hidden wisdom within.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is seen, which is as a grain of mustard-seed
which is within, and many have received it, and are become as little children,
and they that be instructed to the Kingdom, they bring forth their things new,
and their things old. And
many are digging in the field, which is the world, which is set in their hearts,
seeking for the pearl, and many have found it, and many merchant-men be
exchanging, glory to God forever. So
the pearl is within you. All people
of the earth, come into yourselves, find the pearl in you, the precious pearl
that has lain under the earth, and come out of your talk and profession in
words, in which the Jews were, in whom the pearl was hid, that you may find the
pearl in yourselves, and the Kingdom there within you.
Though it be like a grain of mustard-seed, it is like leaven, it will
leaven you up into a new lump; teachings, churches, notions without life shall
wither, fade like flowers, wither like grass, be burnt up like stubble, sticks
and chaff that has cumbered the ground. But
the wheat is gathered into the garner, the lambs are leaping, the Father carries
them in His hands, the babes born of the immortal seed by the word of God, the
Father is known, and is worshipped in spirit and in truth.
The word of wisdom will divide asunder your precious thoughts from your
vile thoughts, your precious words from your vile words, and this word of wisdom
will teach you in all your ways; the pearl in you come to know, the seed in you
come to know, which seed is Christ, that inherits the promise and the Kingdom,
which now is risen in thousands, who are come to be heirs of the promise, and
heirs of God, and heirs of the world that has no end”
Ah, yes, there lies buried within you the greatest of all treasures — the Kingdom of God. Discover that Kingdom today, my friend, draw from its wealth, suck from its life, receive from its power and you will become a new creation, transformed into the image of God. All that is true in God lies within that Kingdom, for it is the image of God created in man from the beginning, now buried deep beneath the debris of the carnal mind and fleshly life. It is there and it is yours, for the taking. Only the earth, the earthiness of your own outer self, your own soulish emotions, your own carnal consciousness, needs to be removed for the image of God to be seen. It is still there within you no matter how weak, sinful, or undone you may feel, or how miserably you may have failed.
Anthony Schuller related his personal experience which graphically brings
this point home to our hearts. He
said, “As a college student, I worked part time as a guide
for a travel agency. I have
enjoyed the privilege of traveling a great deal during the school breaks.
One of the places that really captured my interest was Italy, where I
toured many museums. While in Florence, Italy, I decided that I would make a
distinct point of viewing the original statue of David, sculptured by
Michelangelo, which I had seen in replica in southern California on numerous
occasions. I really looked forward
to seeing the authentic masterpiece. As
the museum guide led us through the hallways of this fabulous place, I
happened to glance down a corridor we were passing by.
There stood a fabulous, huge chunk of crudely-shaped marble.
It was an unfinished piece of sculpture which Michelangelo had, for some
reason, never completed. Flanking
the sides of the hallway were other incomplete works of Michelangelo.
I found myself suddenly distracted.
Instead of rushing to see the famous piece I’d come for, I was being
captured by these abstract works of art. There
was something strangely fascinating about the unfinished, the “yet
to be.” The wonderment of the
what if and the could this
have been and the what might this yet
become was intriguing. Suddenly the
perfections that the statue David offered, the details that were hewn in the
finest degrees, were overshadowed by the embryonic potential that lay dormant in
these chunks of rock.
“I had studied art history in college.
I remembered reading about Michelangelo’s artful eye and how he could
see the statue that he would create as he envisioned it, locked inside a piece of stone.
Then he would begin to chisel away, embarking on his quest to unlock that
piece of art from its cold and hard captor. That is what happened with that great piece called David.
He simply released David who
was entrapped within the giant piece of marble. And as I looked upon the unfinished pieces, they appeared
bound and helpless and looked as if they were almost attempting their own
escape. Some specifically looked as
if they were trying to crawl out of the rock.
Their shoulders were pressing forward and their chins and their heads
were pressing outward, but at that point they were stuck.
Only Michelangelo saw where the lines of the image ran; only he could
release it. By chipping away the
external, everything outside the
image, the image could spring forth to be seen.
“That is how some of you may
be feeling today. You may feel
trapped in a cold, hard captivity of self and circumstance.
But I have good news for you — God isn’t
finished chiseling yet. He is still
creating and drawing out of you the good and the beauty that you have as a son
of God. And he will do it one
little piece at a time. Only God
knows what tomorrow holds, but in it all we can be confident in this: that in
the process of living, He is chiseling out of us the person that He wishes us to
be. That person is in there, and He
is creating someone, a special someone with unique characteristics.
This is the journey we call life
as we are chiseled for a purpose. He
has taken us on as projects of art. Jesus,
with His artful eye, is able to see what lies locked
within us. And He is busy
chiseling away to make us not what WE want to be, but what HE wants us to be —
image that He sees, born out of His
own divine image” —
Another beautiful illustration comes from the pen
of a precious sister in the Lord, Lyn Gitchel — and
I love it! She writes, “These are
days of computers, and we’re going to refer to the computer a number of times
in order to understand some of these things.
So, for those who are not yet computer literate, here’s a
word of explanation concerning them.
A computer consists of the part that has the screen — that’s the part you can see what is going on.
Then it has a printer of some sort or another, which is the part that
puts the stuff down on paper. In
between these is the hard disk, the ‘brain’ of the thing.
The program that makes the rest of it work is loaded onto the hard disk.
It’s very important to note that the
program is complete in itself and the fact a person does not work the
program properly is not the fault of the program.
It is complete, whole, lacking nothing.
Like the redemption Jesus bought.
“Jesus was the ‘format’ for the program, and now the program is the
‘Christ’ program — to be like Him. It’s
important to see that the fact we are not functioning like Jesus now at this
present time does not mean there’s something incomplete about the ‘Christ’
program. It was always complete
from the start, and still is. On
the computer I use, I have two basic programs I use for the work I do.
One I am completely familiar with. I
know every bit of it and can even work it instinctively while talking to someone
else. This corresponds to the
program of life you were raised with, the ‘human’ program.
What you were taught by your parents, and what tendencies you inherited
from them, coupled with how you were educated, join with your church background
to form the program you are thoroughly familiar with living in.
You know how to function in it and you know how to deal with the
experiences it brings to you. Each
one of us has a different background, but, to God they all amount to the same —
‘human’ program. He calls it the program (law) ‘of sin and death’
because it all ends in the same way — with your death.
And all humans will die; be sure of that!
“But I have another program loaded which is the most fantastic program I know of. It turns text upside down, inside out, mirrors it, shadows it, does all sorts of graded shading and stuff that is fabulous. The only problem is I don’t know how to use it! I have the manual, a big, thick volume of some 216 pages, but I’ve never had time to study it and learn it. Sometimes I go into the program and mess with it a bit, but I become very conscious of how ineffective it is because plainly I just don’t know how to do it. There’s nothing wrong with the program, though. The potential is always there.
“The one I am familiar with is like the human program. We are all comfortable with that. Very comfortable. When God sent Jesus into the world, He sent Him to turn us around; to format a new program, the program of life — God’s kind of life. Jesus insisted on calling Himself the ‘Son of Man.’ He did it over and over. Take Matthew’s gospel for example: the expression ‘Son of God’ is used of Him only eight times, and every time it was someone else who called Jesus that. He never used it of Himself. Only in the gospel of John is it ever recorded that Jesus used this expression of Himself, and even then it was only a very few times. In Matthew’s gospel, by comparison, the expression ‘Son of Man’ is used thirty times and every time it is of Jesus speaking of Himself. It’s almost as if He was trying to emphasize His humanity over and over; that He was a member of the same race as everyone else around Him.
“Born of the Holy Spirit by a miracle birth, Jesus was still
effectively human. Although He was ‘in the image of God,’ He still was
limited to human means. He could
only be in one place at a time, could see only as far as the human eye and hear
only what a human ear could hear. He
still could only function within the limitations of His human form.
He was truly man — and because of this He alone
was able to format the new program for man.
What it amounts to is this: if He could live that way, so could anyone of
the same race once the problem of the inherited genes of the Adam race was
effectively dealt with. At the
transfiguration, God shone the spotlight of His perfect holiness upon Jesus, and
because there was no flaw in Him it shone right through Him.
God determined this was His ultimate program for man.
He looked down at the transfigured Jesus and said, ‘This is my beloved
Son...’ or, in other words, ‘This is the pattern; this is what I intended
for man. This is the program that
He will now exchange with them by His death.’
This is borne out by the fact that Jesus discussed His ‘decease which
He should accomplish at Jerusalem’ at that time.
The transfiguration experience was the demonstration of the perfect man —
the man in the
image of God that God had first created in Adam.
The cross was the transfer of that state of perfect manhood from Jesus,
by the exchange of the covenant, to the rest of the race.
“Most people, and most churches, accept the fact that the ultimate goal
for believers is to become like Jesus.
The question is not if but when.
Many relegate it to the future and assume that after we die we’ll get
to be like Him. Let’s forget that
concept! We need to see it as a
total plan for now, in this life.
It was a man that God created
in His image and it was a man that
caused the problem. When the
Adamses did it their way, they plunged the whole race into the sin problem.
Jesus came along and, as a perfect man,
exchanged His righteousness for our sin-programmed state.
That was the covenant exchange He made through His blood as a sacrifice.
The exchange has been made and His righteousness is now set to our
account, just as our sin was to His. Now
here’s the question: Is it totally done or is there something God still has to
do with us? Can we in fact ever expect to be as perfect as Jesus was?
It seems a way-out goal for even the best human person, something our
minds don’t compute easily! Reason
it logically for a moment. How much
of your sin did Jesus take on the cross? All
of it, or some of it? The answer is
ALL, of course. So, if it was an
exchange, how much of His righteousness did He make over to you?
All of it, or part of it? The
answer, believe it or not, is ALL, just as with the other.
“So the program of God that has been loaded on the computer disk of
each of our lives is complete, perfect, entire, needing
nothing. It is a program
that potentially allows us to come into being ‘a perfect man, the measure of
the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ That’s
what it’s all about — that we might
become like Jesus. Exactly like
Him. As human people, here and now,
become like Him. If the completion
was not to come until after death, then God would have failed in His plan.
He created man in His image and intended him to be that way.
Therefore, it is man that has to come into that image again to fulfill God’s
intention for the human race. Only
after that can the human race go on to the
next step in God’s plan.
“Now, let’s get this straight. The
‘Christ’ program is a program that is already loaded on our hard disks.
Jesus formatted it and got it loaded for us.
It is a program of INFINITE POTENTIAL.
‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart
of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him’ (I Cor.
2:9). I mean, Jesus could heal the
sick, forgive sins, cast out devils, raise the dead, walk on water, pass through
hostile crowds, appear and disappear, and is seated at the right hand of God,
just to name a few things. The
program has infinite possibilities. It
comes with a manual, the scriptures. Sometimes
the manual is a little hard to decipher, but that’s only because we are as yet
unfamiliar with its terminology. If
we stick with it, spend much time with it, work and work at understanding it,
ultimately we will become familiar with it.
But the fact that we are not there yet does not mean there is anything
wrong with the program! It’s perfect!
“Just as it takes time to learn to work in a new computer program, it also takes time to learn to walk in the new program God has set in your life. Technically He has turned you around from working in the program that leads in the direction of death and showed you the new one that is His life program, but we are so used to functioning in the old one that it takes time to learn the new. It’s not necessary to get bent all out of shape when you feel you are not totally functioning in the way God wants you to. None of us learns to overnight. Each of us finds we revert to the old sin and death program from time to time. The important thing is not to let it discourage you. It’s a slow but steady learning process that will continue all your life. That’s what redemption is all about!” — end quote.
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will basis.
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