Kindgdom Bible Studies Kingdom of God Part 25


"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."



Part 24 


            The eighteenth chapter of Matthew begins with these words, “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into eonian fire.  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Mat. 18:1-14).


            The subject of this wonderful passage of scripture is WHO IS THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?  There are two characters in the divine drama.  You find these two all the way through this teaching of Jesus.  The two characters are directly involved in the answer to the question, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Of these characters one is a child.  The other is a man.  The child is the greatest in the Kingdom.  The man is so offensive that he ought to be drowned in the sea.  These are the two characters the child, and the man.  The issue between these two is who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.


            There is no need to inquire who would aspire to being the greatest in the Kingdom.  The very thought brings to mind the mother of the disciples,  James and John.  It was she who came to Jesus with her sons, and kneeling, worshipped Him and asked a favor of Him.  Jesus asked her, “What do you wish?”  She answered Him, “Give orders that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left hand, in your Kingdom.”  Ah what an audacious, ambitious and enterprising mother she was!  Out of her fearless mother’s heart of love she was moved to seek the very highest positions in Christ’s Kingdom for her two beloved sons.  Jesus did not flatly deny her the request.  He did not tell her that her sons could never be the greatest in His Kingdom.  Jesus simply replied, “You do not realize what you are asking.  Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink and to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?  You will drink my cup, but seats at my right hand and my left are not mine to give, but they are for those for whom they have been ordained and prepared by my Father” (Mat. 20:22-23).

            Perhaps you think as I have thought, that there was a bit of selfishness, perhaps even a liberal dose of ego, a spirit of “power grabbing,” and the desire for recognition and advantage on the part of this mother.  But is the desire to be greatest in the Kingdom a wrong desire?  Is it unethical or unspiritual?  Is it a selfish, vain, conceited, power-mad, un-Christlike, reprehensible desire to be the greatest in the Kingdom?  Not by any means!  If your desire to be great in God’s Kingdom is a grasping after greatness for greatness’ sake to make a name, to acquire a following, to dominate men’s lives, to control events, to issue orders and call the shots then you can forget it.  You will never be great in the Kingdom.  Recently a sister shared with us about a man in a certain church who used to get up and say he’d be so glad when the sons were manifested, because then that neighbor of his would find out he was dead wrong about the boundary line between their two properties!  If such childish carnality lies at the root of one’s desire for greatness in the Kingdom, matters not how persistently that one pursues it, it will escape him.  It will be denied.  God will never commit His almighty power into the hands of  petty, self-serving bullies.


            On the other hand, the blessed Holy Spirit gives us the qualifications for greatness in the Kingdom.  He tells us what the spirit of greatness is.  He reveals the nature and character of greatness.  He delineates the marks of greatness within a man.  He also assures us that there exists such a position of greatness in the Kingdom, and it is available to any who will pay the price.  The Lord Jesus refers on a number of occasions to those who are least in the Kingdom.  “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:19).  He also speaks of those who are greatest in the Kingdom.  “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:4).  There is that potential within each of us of winding up down the road somewhere in either of these two categories the least in the Kingdom, or the greatest in the Kingdom. 


            Not a few saints are like the man who told my father one time, “I just want to make it to heaven.  If I can just make it inside the gate, I shall be satisfied.”  My father, a Pentecostal minister, responded, “I hate to disappoint you, my brother; but that space just inside the gate was taken up a long time ago!”  Some people look forward to a “cabin in the corner of glory-land” while others will be satisfied with nothing less than a “mansion over the hill-top.”  But there is a hope far greater than these, cherished within the hearts of a people who know the Lord in deeper measures.  There is a place in the Kingdom, in the government of God, in the authority and dominion of the Christ, where the sons of God shall be empowered to be a blessing to every people and nation, yea, to all the vast creation of God forevermore.


            Abraham Lincoln tells a marvelous story about a blacksmith  who took a long, round bar and stuck it in the coals until it was red hot.  Then he put it on the anvil where he hammered it flat to make a sword.  When he was finished, he was most unhappy with it.  So he put it back in the red hot coals and decided to broaden the flat part out a bit and make a garden tool.  He tried that, but it didn’t please his fancy either.  He put the bar back into the coals.  He rounded it a bit again and then shaped it into a horse-shoe.  This effort also failed miserably.  As a last resort, he put the bar into the coals one last time.  As he removed it from the hot fire, he wondered if there was anything else he could make from it.  Deciding that there was nothing, he merely stuck it into a barrel of water.  As it sizzled, he said, “Well, at least I made a fizzle out of it.”  God doesn’t want to make a fizzle out of you, my beloved!  His purpose is just this: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a special people, that you should set forth and display the virtues and excellencies of the wisdom and power of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9).  These words are meant for you.  You are God’s special people!  You are a chosen generation!  You are kings and priests, a royal priesthood!  You hold in your life the power to shape the world and human history, to bring in a new order that shall alter the course of all creation!  Do not settle for the fizzle pursue the vision God has birthed within your spirit!


            God is raising up a kingdom of priests, a kingly priesthood, to bless all the families and nations of the earth.  This is one of the promises given in the long ago to that mighty man of faith, Abraham.  How great were the promises made to Abraham!  There were seven great and exceedingly wonderful promises given to him, enumerated in chapter twelve of Genesis.  The first was, “I will make of thee a great nation.”  The second was, “I will bless thee.”  The third, “I will make thy name great.”  The word name carries with it the idea of honor, authority, and the character of the individual.  God was saying to Abraham that He would make his honor to be great; his authority was to be great and even his character great.  I will make thy name to be great.  The fourth promise was, “Thou shalt be a blessing.”  The fifth, “And I will bless them that bless thee.”  The sixth, “I will curse him that curseth thee.”  Then the seventh was, “In thee shall ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.”  Not the families of Israel, nor the families of the Church, but ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH.  In these precious promises God caused Abraham to understand that he was the beginning of something that was to be world wide and all-inclusive, not some insignificant local affair.


            God promised Abraham that He would bless him.  And when Melchizedek came out of the celestial realm that day, HE BLESSED ABRAHAM.  Then the Lord said, “Thou shalt BE a thee shall ALL families of the earth BE BLESSED.”  Hear it!  Abraham was BE A BLESSING!  With reverence and godly respect I now tell you that you, dear reader of these lines, are included in these wonderful promises.  “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, And to seeds as to many; but as of one, and to thy seed, WHICH IS CHRIST” (Gal. 3:16).  God made this promise, even this covenant, with two people only with Abraham, and with the seed of Abraham, who was also God’s Son, Jesus the Christ.  With Abraham and his singular seed WHICH IS CHRIST.  God not only made this covenant with a man, Abraham, but He made it with HIS OWN SON.  God had a witness in earth and a witness in heaven that He had made a covenant that through Abraham and His Son every family and nation would be blessed, and it was confirmed with an oath so that it could never fail.  Oh, the wonder of it!


            “And if ye be Christ’s, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM’S SEED AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE” (Gal. 3:29).  Never have words more pregnant with promise been uttered.  Today, now, we are heirs according to that marvelous promise God gave to Abraham and the Christ.  We are heirs of every one of those seven covenants that God made with Abraham.  We can take them all individually and apply them to ourselves and to the whole body of the Christ.  They are both individual and corporate.  To Abraham God promised a seed which would come to bless the whole earth, a seed through whom each and every person ever to see the light of day would be delivered and blessed.  We see that seed begin to form in the preparation of a nation chosen and separated unto Himself.  Long centuries afterward we behold Jesus of Nazareth, anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, walking the length and breadth of that favored nation showing forth among its people the wondrous glory of His Father.  God’s infallible word declares Him to be the direct seed of Abraham according to the flesh, but the Son of God with power.  Truly He was the promised seed, the seed of Abraham and the anointed Son of God, “thy seed which is Christ.” 


            To the apostle Paul it was given to reveal how we, the elect redeemed of this age, are MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR OF CHRIST, so that we are the Christ body as Jesus is the Christ Head.  The Head and body together form one Christ, the temple of  God and the habitation of the Most High, for “As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: SO ALSO IS CHRIST” (I Cor. 12:12).  It is through this many-membered Christ that the promises to Abraham and his seed shall be gloriously fulfilled in their totality.  All families and all nations of the whole earth shall be blessed! 


            “Even as Abraham believed God...know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, PREACHED BEFORE THE GOSPEL UNTO ABRAHAM, saying, IN THEE SHALL ALL NATIONS BE BLESSED” (Gal. 3:6-8).  In this passage we see that God one day  did some preaching.  The almighty God with infinite care and wisdom laid the plans for the magnificent work He would do through Abraham and his seed.  Then He told Abraham to attend a preaching service He was going to hold.  Abraham was the congregation.  It makes no difference where the service was to be held.  God was the preacher and it would have been very wonderful to have been in the service.  As God began to preach, He brought forth the Gospel or the GOOD NEWS and it was this: ALL NATIONS were to be blessed in Abraham!


            It is the infallible proclamation of the omnipotent God all the families and all the nations of the earth are to be blessed.  Certainly they have all been kissed by God’s wonderful sunshine and have drunk in the refreshing rain from heaven, but that is not what God is speaking of.  He is pointing to a great manifestation and outpouring of God’s grace and glory that still has not occurred a time when God will speak to all, reveal Himself to all, redeem all, transform all and bless all.  Not individuals, not the Church, but the NATIONS!  A great and mighty move of God shall yet come in the earth that few men have even dreamed of, when the younger sons of God, the Christ body, having fully grown up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, shall be manifested in all the fullness of the nature, wisdom, power and glory of God.  In that day the whole creation shall be lifted from the bondage and night of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:18-23).  What an exceeding great potential and responsibility is laid upon us in the promises to Abraham which we share!


            A millennium after God blessed Abraham to make him a blessing, the word of the Lord came to the remnant of Abraham’s seed, proclaiming, “And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the will I save you, and YE SHALL BE A BLESSING: fear not, but let your hands be strong” (Zech. 8:13).  Hear the heart of God in this statement: “Ye shall be a blessing.”  How important punctuation is!  Should someone put a question mark behind this statement it would read, “Ye shall be a blessing?”  And looking at ourselves, none of us are very important people in this world, we’re just common, ordinary, mostly uneducated people; laborers, plumbers, farmers, electricians, mill workers, office workers, store keepers, barbers, housewives,  mechanics, etc.   The great ones of this world would look askance at us and incredulously query, “YE shall be a blessing?”  But we know from the Lord God Almighty who made us, called us, revealed Himself to us, and has been actively training and preparing us through great and terrible dealings, that we shall be a blessing, indeed.  So we put an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, not a question mark.  YE SHALL BE A BLESSING!”  I am sure that all of the Lord’s elect, who follow on to know the Lord, cherish the precious promise that we are apprehended of God to be a part of that promised seed that shall bless all the families and nations of the earth.  As we daily view the desperate needs about us, of family and friends, of the sinful, sorrowful, needy, sick and dying, oh! how we WANT to be a blessing!  To be a blessing what a promise that is!  What hope is contained therein!  But you don’t just walk up to someone on the street and announce, “I’m your Blesser.”  First, we must BECOME.  You shall BE...  To “be” bespeaks a state of being.  God is teaching us, preparing us, training us to truly BE blessers.  We can only bless when we have BECOME THE BLESSING.


            The Order of Melchizedek is an ORDER OF BLESSERS.  In this divine Order there are no curses, no negation to be uttered, no vindictiveness, no judgment, but there is a ministry of blessing.  This is far more than a doctrine to be received, a formula of words to be repeated, or a claim to be made; this is an expression of unconditional love and unrestrained compassion that flows from our spirit toward others until all the families and nations of the earth have been touched and healed and quickened by His all-conquering love.


            I must mention the principle of the Melchizedekian Priesthood and the seed of Abraham in respect to blessing.  We know that Melchizedek blessed Abraham.  God had said to Abraham, “I will bless thee...and thou shalt be a thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”  First Abraham was blessed, and then he could become a blessing.  Blessed to BE A BLESSING!  Oh, may the Spirit of God somehow burn this truth indelibly into our hearts.  But there is also the realm where men bless in order to be blessed, giving in order to receive, giving and receiving again according to how they have given.  “Give, and it shall be given unto you.”  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should INHERIT A BLESSING.”  This is all true, and most “faith” and “word” people dwell there. But when the Holy Spirit begins to reveal that higher Order of Melchizedek within your spirit, a vast transforming change begins to take place in your understanding.  Gone forever is the desire to give in order to receive, to be merciful so that in some future time you might receive mercy, or to bless with a view to being blessed.   Henceforth we begin to see things as God sees them, and from this high and holy vista our purified desire becomes only to BE BLESSED that we may BE A BLESSING.  It is not giving to receive, but receiving to give. 


            In the Order of Melchizedek  ALL THINGS ARE REVERSED.  Truly there is a changing, a reversing of all principles and laws in the new order which is being birthed in the sons of God.  Our old ideas, teachings, conceptions,  and desires are being upset and overthrown, and our old theology and methodology acquired in the religious systems of Mystery Babylon are fast flying out the window.  The Spirit of the Lord quickens the yielded minds of those who wait before Him in this hour, the elect is being led in new and strange paths of the divine order of the Most High.  So fear not, beloved child of God, to let go of the teachings and practices of yesteryear, for those were but the swaddling clothes of your BECOMING in God.  God’s apprehended ones are now moving into a dimension where there is higher understanding, higher laws, and higher reality.  It must ever be kept in mind that every dimension functions by laws of its own, and so it is with the Melchizedekian Order.  The first order of this sacred realm is BLESSING.


            A divine work of transformation is now taking place within our minds.  God is not dealing in this hour with outward manifestation, but He is probing deep into our being, to change the attitudes, thoughts, and desires of mind and heart.  Thank God He is stripping away the masquerades and facades, purging and purifying, that we might be conformed to His image, changed into His mind, a partaker of His nature.  We are challenged with our own development unto spiritual maturity, and therefore we have received a commandment to bless not that we might receive anything in return for we cannot truly bless another until it proceeds unselfishly and unmixed out of a pure heart a genuine desire that they be blessed.  Oh, for that purity of spirit, that complete deliverance from the “seed faith” mentality being peddled by the money-hungry preachers of this evil day that continually urges the people to give in order to get and to bless with the motive of being blessed a hundred fold in return.  May the blazing heat of God’s holy fire so transform our minds and hearts until every action can be thoroughly WITHOUT GUILE, no ulterior motive for whatever this might return to us for our own gain.


            I do not hesitate to tell you that giving to receive again, planting with a vision to reaping a harvest, is a true principle in God, and it will work for you on that level, but it is not the law of the Order of Melchizedek.  It is the law of a lower plane.  Increase is the law of the realm of limitation, of want, of need, the in-part reaching forth to acquire more.  But the priesthood of Melchizedek pertains to the realm of the unlimited, of His fullness, after the power of an endless or unbounded life.  The priests of this order minister not from a sense of THEIR NEED, but out of the realization of HIS FULLNESS.  This transformation of mind and attitude must take place in every son of God.  These sons shall not do the will of their heavenly Father in the childish hope that He will reward them for it; but such lift up their voices in one accord with that blessed firstborn Son, saying, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I DELIGHT TO DO THY WILL, O my God: yea, Thy law is written in my heart” (Ps. 40:7-8). 


            Ah, my brother, my sister, is it your heart’s desire to be a blessing?  God is creating within us the insatiable desire to be a blessing, not only to our precious brethren, our children, our family, our friends, our neighbors, our city, state and country but to be a blessing to the whole earth and to all creation.  I want that.  Oh, how I desire it!  Now here is God’s promise: “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: FOR ALL THE EARTH IS MINE: and ye shall be unto me A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and an holy nation”  (Ex. 19:5-6).  I have often characterized this verse of scripture as the GREAT DIVINE SANDWICH.  A sandwich is two slices of bread between which is placed meat, fish, cheese, or the like.   Three items are necessary to make a sandwich, the two outer items two identical pieces of bread in between another, and different, item.  Such is the structure of the scripture passage just quoted.  There are two statements of like nature surrounding and enclosing another and different kind of statement.  Notice the two outer statements:  (1) ye shall be a PECULIAR TREASURE unto me above all people  (2) ye shall be unto me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and an holy nation.  Then, “sandwiched” in between these two wonderful promises is this remarkable word: FOR ALL THE EARTH IS MINE.


            In the light of this scripture I would like to reaffirm something which the world at large, and many Christians, seem to have forgotten: THIS IS GOD’S WORLD!  “Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Ps. 50:10-12).  Moses said, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deut. 10:14).  God said to Job, “Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine” (Job 41:11).  And David said, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1).  I will be the first to admit, howeve, that this world doesn’t look much like something that is owned by the great and good God!  I look out over the world today and see demons stalking through the lands, with literally billions of people held in the prison houses of the dense darkness of false religions, worshipping idols, and devils, and the gods of superstition, tradition and fear.  I look out over the world today and I see the spirit of strife and hatred and war, thousands dying daily at the hands of terrorists, and in bloody revolutions on earth’s battlefields.  I look out over the world today and I see nearly two billion people still enslaved under the iron heel of godless, atheistic communism.  It doesn’t look much like God’s world, but IT IS!


            I look out over the third-world nations today and I see poverty and squalor and ignorance on an incomprehensible scale, millions of people starving to death, pitiful little children with protruding eyes and stomachs bloated from malnutrition, without hope in the world.  I look out over the industrialized nations of the West today and I see untold millions of people bowing before the gods of humanism, secularism, and worshipping before the shrines of the gods of pleasure, sex, perversion, and debauchery.  Fornication, adultery, and homosexuality are all a big joke, just something to laugh about on the sit coms, and glorified by Hollywood and the media.  One thousand Americans are infected with venereal disease not every year, not every month, not every week, not every day but every hour!  Ah, it doesn’t look much like a world that belongs to God, but IT DOES!


            I look out upon our land today and I see millions of our children spaced out on drugs, angry at the world, hostile to parents and all authority, and out-of-joint with society.  I see that evil teachings, incredible in their filth and degradation, have crept into our public schools on every hand, while God, prayer, and the Bible have been thrown out and openly ridiculed.  I see a giant crime wave sweeping across our cities, rape is out of control, murder is commonplace, and no one is safe on our streets anymore.  It doesn’t look much like a world that is the property of God, does it?  But IT IS!


            This present evil world is hideously marred by SIN.  Let us make this thing more personal.  Go with me to yonder hospital, and listen for just a moment to the cries and moans of the sick and suffering.  See the red eyes wet with tears, and think of the bleeding hearts behind those tears as they carry that loved one away.  Go with me to yonder prison, and see the young lives blighted and shriveled with sin, caged up like wild animals.  Follow me now to yonder asylum, and listen to the unintelligible jargon of those poor, pitiable souls with their distorted reason and deranged minds, and the very walls seem to whisper the word Hell!  I can’t really imagine how much a million is.  A dollar a day since the birth of Christ would total only three-fourths of a million dollars.  I can’t imagine the suffering of a million people, let alone a billion or six and a half billion.  Yet, that’s the reality of today’s world.  Famine, storms,  illness, fear, oppression, exploitation, poverty, hopelessness, sin and death, all that is the daily lot of billions of people.  Doesn’t look like a world that is owned by God, does it?  But IT IS!


            I believe that God passionately loves the world.  It is my deep conviction, born of communion with my heavenly Father, that God now loves all lost men.  There are lost men in jails and prisons and insane asylums.  They are in saloons and brothels and in death and in judgment and in hell, and God loves them all.  He still remembers them and remembers His Son on the tree, suffering and dying on their behalf.  And in the redeemed body of this resurrected and glorified Son He now prepares with infinite wisdom and care a Royal Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, a SON COMPANY, a KING COMPANY, a PRIEST COMPANY, to restore mankind into the image of God again.  Because all the earth is mine, ye shall be unto me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS!”  Ah, that is the “divine sandwich” One piece of bread is the promise, “Ye shall be unto me a special people.”  The second slice of bread is the promise, “Ye shall be unto me a royal priesthood.”  And the meat in between is the reason and purpose for the special people and the royal priesthood BECAUSE ALL THE EARTH IS MINE!  The earth, the world, and all they that dwell therein belong to God first because He made them, and second because He redeemed them.


            In Romans 8:20 Paul, moved by inspiration, states that the whole creation groans for this “priesthood.”  I took the liberty of putting “priesthood” in there, but that’s exactly what he’s talking about.  The whole creation groans for the manifestation of the sons of God for “the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).  I see it.  I see something stirring in the atmosphere.  I see a people being taught of God, purged, purified, processed, perfected, overcoming, taking on the mind of Christ, transformed again into the image of God, taking their rightful places sons and kings and priests unto their God!  This people has received a vision of what they are destined to be in God, of  what they are being prepared to do for creation.  The message of the hope of sonship and the kingdom is going forth in power in this hour and circling the globe as multiplied thousands of the Lord’s elect people are heeding the call.  God is removing from the hearts of these the foolish desire to “fly away” to some far-off heaven somewhere, as He unfolds within their ransomed spirits the beautiful PURPOSE He has in His firstfruit company.  The reality of a full and complete redemption in spirit, soul, and body, to be revealed in the sons of God, is so very near that we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch its powers.


            Because all the earth is His, God is raising up a Royal Priesthood to reign in mighty spirit power and authority over the earth, not to be little human dictators, but with an outflow of life and light and love, touching God with one hand, and humanity with the other, bringing the two together, that God may indwell men by His Spirit and live and rule in them in power and glory.  The kingly nature in us is not to dominate other men’s lives, but to deal with them in judgment and mercy to break the power of selfhood, rebellion, sin and the devil, that men may be reconciled to God.  Kings have power and authority over every enemy, priests reconcile in mercy and love.  But once the reconciliation has been effected, and the Christ is enthroned, we shall deliver men up to God, even the Father, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.  That is the law of the Kingdom.  We rule only to subdue men unto God then GOD RULES IN THEM.  That is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!  Oh, beloved, come, let us now open our hearts wide to Him.  Come, and as we reverently consider this glorious ministry and its life-flow to all the families of the earth, let us yield ourselves unto God that He may work His wondrous work in our lives, that we become in nature and power His ROYAL PRIESTHOOD in the earth!  The manifestation of the sons of God is nothing less than the full manifestation of God’s fully developed and empowered body of king-priests after the Order of Melchizedek.  Those apprehended unto this ministry are indeed  A PEOPLE FOR A PURPOSE.


            If you desire to be a blessing in the ultimate of what that means, then you desire to be GREAT IN GOD’S KINGDOM!  It is really very simple and powerful.  The greater you are in the Kingdom, the greater your potential to be a blessing.  You see, the President of the United States has a greater capacity to do good for people than does the local sheriff or the checker at Wal Mart.  The higher you rise in this world into positions of ability, accomplishment, prestige, influence, finance and power, the greater your capacity to do good.  If your heart is right, if your motive is pure, it is not wrong to desire to be the greatest in the Kingdom, for with that position comes the authority to bless.  If I am least in the Kingdom I will not be nearly as effective on behalf of creation as the greatest in the Kingdom.  To whomsoever much is given, much is required, and to whomsoever little is given, little is required, saith the Lord.  The one who receives little of the Lord in the Kingdom can bless but little.  When one’s desire for greatness is rooted in the true purpose and the divine nature of greatness, then greatness is a legitimate aspiration.  It will not be denied.  The spirit that produces greatness is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ who, though He was rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.


            Now let us return to the two characters in our story.  One of them is a child, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The other is a man, referred to as “that man,” and that man is so offensive that he should be drowned in the sea.  Now here is the mystery of the parable.  Both of those characters are in you and in me.  The man who is so offensive and despicable that he ought to be drowned you look at that man every morning in the mirror.  He is the natural man, the soulish man who understands not the things of the spirit.  He is the outward man who is perishing and the carnal-minded man who is enmity against God.  This natural, soulish, carnal-minded, outward man is hostile to the spirit and offensive to the little child of the Kingdom.  This man is self-centered.  The characteristics of his nature are self-indulgence, self-appreciation, self-love, self-motivation, self-defense, and self preservation.  On the other hand, you need not look in the mirror to meet the little child who is the greatest in the Kingdom.  This child cannot be seen with the natural eye.  You must look deeper, into the very deepest part of your being; past the body, and on inward past the soul, into the very spirit itself there you will find the child of the Kingdom, the inner son, the seed of life, Christ in you.  The little child is the spiritual man having the mind of Christ and bearing the image of God.


            The issue is just this:  WHO IS THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?  That’s a loaded question, but when you ask Jesus you are going to get the right answer.  “And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  The word  converted means changed.  Unless we are changed, Jesus says, and become like little children; unless we step out of the ego of the soulish man, and step into the humility of the Christ who humbled Himself and was made of no reputation, taking upon Him the form of a servant, and becoming obedient even unto death, we will have no place in the government of God.  If we want to have a part in God’s ruling government to bless the nations, we must humble ourselves and become like this little child.  And if we do, not only will we be a member in God’s government, but we can be the very GREATEST in that government.  What a proposition that is! 


            That is just the opposite of man’s ways.  How many people today would vote for a child to be President of the United States?  We don’t want a child in the White House!  We want a person of stature, a graduate of Yale or Harvard, a lawyer, business tycoon, or politician with experience, knowledge and skill.  But Jesus says, “I’m forming a government.  This government will be an international and universal government over all things.  The blessings of this government will be life more abundant, with love, joy, peace, and righteousness upon all men everywhere.  And the required prerequisite, the one and only qualification for participation in this government is to be changed and become as a little child.  There is no position open to any who fail to meet this criterion.  The implications of such a revolutionary concept is staggering to the imagination, and it is no small wonder that the carnal mind is totally void of the capacity to understand a principle so transcendental and sublime.  But the implication it holds for those who meet its demands is beyond comprehension or even imagination.  One thing must be very clear.  Jesus did not say, “Be childish.”  He said, “Be child-like.”  There is a whole world of difference between child-ish and child-like.  “Except you become like a little child.” 


            Now, what does it mean to be childish?  Children can be self-centered, selfish, and ungrateful; sometimes they throw temper tantrums, demanding their way; they may even bite and scratch when they’re angry; they don’t always think before they act; their bellies often control their behavior.  Further, their eyes are often bigger than their stomachs;  sometimes they take more than their share, and other times they take what doesn’t belong to them.  They can be disobedient, and with a face that could win an Academy Award, they can deny doing all of the above!  Such behavior is childish.  And how remarkably each of these characteristics reflects the behavior of nearly all of the governments of this world!  In II Timothy, Paul describes childish people: selfish, irrational, immoral, manipulative, impulsive, crude, and cruel.  Worst of all, they are without faith in God.  Obviously Jesus would never say we should become childish.  Such people have depraved minds and will be promptly rejected by God for any position of rulership in His Kingdom, for they cannot be His sons.  Some terms that equate with childishness are immaturity, lack of experience, knowledge and understanding.  “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,” the wise man said.


            On the other hand, what are the characteristics of child-likeness?  Doubtless many of Jesus’ listeners wondered how a person that was grown could become like a little child again, how one could throw away his knowledge, his experience, his habits, his ideals, his  established accomplishments and become like a little child, and start out afresh to acquire a new store of ideals, principles and values.  Many doubtless felt it was well nigh impossible, and many did not wish to try, for they did not wish to give up their pet desires and ways and their proud positions.  To become like a little child was to become humble, as one who knew nothing and possessed nothing.  Pride and self-seeking and every soulish attribute were to be put away.  To become like a little child meant a revolution in the life and thought of the individual.  Yet it was an absolute essential for rulership in the Kingdom of Heaven!


            Child-likeness speaks of innocence, lowliness of mind, humility, unconditional love, trust and dependence; a child freely forgives, is unbigoted, teachable, inquisitive, impressionable, and pliable.  Children are active wide-eyed explorers of ever-expanding horizons. They express simple, uncluttered feelings, thoughts, opinions, ideas and truths.  The attitude of the little one who is greatest in the Kingdom is an attitude that sees all men through the eyes of God which are the eyes of love.  The little one sees Christ in every man, is ever ready to believe the best about every person, and rejoices not at an evil report, but discerns the purpose of the Father in every thing. 


            This reminds me of the testimony I read once of a preacher in England many years ago.  He wrote: The simplicity of childhood in regard to the things of God often shames us now.  There rises to my mind as I speak one sweet little incident of a fortnight ago which did me great good.  It was during a time when I was passing through a not very serious controversy, but which had found its way into the papers, and  into the home of a certain clergyman of the Church of England.  The father and mother were speaking of this incident over the breakfast-table.  Their only child, a little girl, was present; she had never seen me, she had only heard my name from her father and mother, who are my friends.  Presently in her childish treble, she asked whether Mr. Campbell was in trouble.  They said, “Yes.”  “What is it?”  “Oh, they are saying he is a bad man.”  “Is he a bad man?” she asked.  Her father very stoutly and courageously answered that he was not; whereupon the little girl slipped down from the table and went away.  They did not seek her or follow her.  Presently she returned, and climbing back into her chair at the breakfast-table, said, “It is alright.”  “What is alright, my dear?”  “About Mr. Campbell.  I have told God about it.  So that’s settled.”  I think I can presume far enough on the tender-heartedness of fathers and mothers to say that when the letter of the parents of that child reached me, telling me of the incident, somehow I did feel as if it were alright.   end quote.


            What, then, are the qualities of the child-like spirit?  First of all, there is the humility of the child.  It was really that which was uppermost in Jesus’ thought when He told the disciples that they must become as little children.  “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child...”  These disciples looked on Jesus’ Kingdom as a kingdom of this world and they were always concerned about who was going to have the biggest jobs and the highest places in it.  A little child is not interested in position and prestige and rank.  He is not interested  in getting the seat of honor at a feast or the first place at some important political function.  He would not be in the least worried if he did not get a seat on the platform at a public meeting.  He just does not think of such things at all because he does not think of himself.  It is only people who have a high idea of their own importance who speak and act like that, vying for place and position.  A little child, even a child celebrity, does not think himself important.  Humility is always the sign of a really great man.


            A second trait of childhood is guilelessness.  The little child has not learned the slippery arts of a deceptive life.  He has not become an expert in the craft of contriving schemes of ambition and advantage, and then throwing over them the aura of innocent simplicity.  A child does not try to lead a double life, or appear as that which he isn’t.  It is not to children, but to adults, that the apostle writes: “Putting off all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envying and all evil speakings, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:1-2).  A third trait of childhood is teachableness.  How readily and implicitly a little child believes everything its parents or its teachers say!  It waits not to doubt or debate, but unhesitatingly accepts every statement as truth.  It will try anything it is told with all the fervor and diligence it can muster.


            A fourth quality of the child-like spirit is unconditional love.  The little child makes no bigoted calculations about the profit of living on terms of friendship with anyone.  It does not reason itself into a state of friendship, and say, “I ought to love: therefore I will love.”  Race, color, creed or station matter not to a child in choosing friends.  Children often love and adore even abusive parents.  They love the unlovely.  The child loves naturally, spontaneously, because it cannot help loving.  Love is the characteristic impulse, trait and condition of childhood.  And therefore childhood is the very best symbol as well as the absolute term of that heavenly Kingdom whose very scepter is Love.  Happy the son of the Kingdom who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and all men and all creation with an uninhibited, unqualified love: for this is the nature and the law of the Kingdom of God.


            A fifth trait of childhood is trust.  Luke, in relating this incident of Jesus with the little child (Lk. 18:15-17), goes a little deeper by including infants!  To that we should give some serious thought.  Have you ever heard of babies biting their nails, worrying whether it will have a crib to sleep in?  Have you ever heard one child say to another, “I wonder where our next meal is going to come from?”  What about a little boy afraid that there won’t be any fireman’s jobs left?  Or a little girl fretting that she won’t qualify for a student loan in fifteen years?  Small children do not worry about the future.  They live for today, for today is always their day.  They live by faith faith in their parents.  Mom and Dad will provide what is needed for today.  They don’t wonder whether their parents will make enough money to keep up with the Joneses.  Clothes, food, cleanliness, safety, and shelter are important, but no child lives for these things.  Sons of God live for their Father not for things.  Trusting little children are pliable.  Sons of God come only to do the will of their Father.   Whoever has a DETERMINED MIND OF HIS OWN cannot partake in the government of God.  This suggests that we need to have our minds renewed, so that it does not function out of the knowledge systems of this world.  It also implies that living in the Kingdom does not allow us any personal rights, but just as a little child is totally subject to its parents, so we are totally subject to our heavenly Father.


            Suppose we were caught in a fire and could not get downstairs; suppose we were standing at a window; suppose it was quite dark and we could not see the ground.  If a voice said to us, “Come on! Jump!” and we recognized that voice as our father’s voice, would we hesitate because we could not see?  Ah, we would know our father would not let us down.  That is not the way the son with a child-like spirit ought to feel about his heavenly Father that is how the son with a child-like spirit does feel about his Father!  The son of the Kingdom with a child-like spirit is in every situation and  circumstance certain that God will guide him and direct him and order life for him according to His great plan and purpose.  I do not doubt for one moment that trust is the first and greatest of all the conditions of entry into, and participation in, the government of God!


            When these child-like qualities are inworked into our lives we become sons of God who with child-like innocence are lowly of mind, easy to be entreated; humble before God and man; unconditionally merciful, loving, and caring to all men; trusting explicitly the heavenly Father for all things and in all things; totally dependent upon the Father, knowing that of ourselves we can do nothing; forgiving one another and all men their trespasses, no matter how grievous, not imputing their trespasses unto them; unbigoted, unprejudiced, tolerant, and respectful toward every man of every race, color and background; spiritually inquisitive, not blinded or bound by static creeds, doctrines of men, or traditions of the elders; teachable, impressionable, obedient, and pliable in the dealing hands of God.  My!  My!  My!


            A farmer watched a bird building her nest in a heap of branches pruned from the apple tree beside the farmhouse.  All day long the bird toiled; in the evening the farmer destroyed the work she had done scattering the tiny twigs about and trampling them beneath his feet.  The next day the bird, undaunted, began her building once again.  Again at evening time her work was destroyed.  Judged by the feeble standards of the bird, ignorant of all beyond the cycle of her instincts, the man was cruel and not to be called good.  The third day she began her nest once more, but this time in the rose bush beside the kitchen door.  In the evening the farmer smiled upon the bird and her work remained.  Day after day she continued her cyclic round; the nest was completed; the eggs were laid and warmed beneath her bosom.  But long before the time for hatching, the pile of branches from which she had been driven had been removed and burned.  Had the farseeing farmer allowed the bird to have her way, all her nest, her little ones, and her hopes for the season would have been destroyed.  She did not see beyond one summer; the farmer saw the end from the beginning.  So our omniscient Father knows the end from the beginning, and the son who has submitted himself to the Father has received a new set of senses by which he learns to trust God in all things, even those which he cannot understand.  Jesus said to His disciples, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (Jn. 13:7).  The son with the child-like spirit has learned this lesson well and goes on in confident trust in Him who worketh all things after the council of His own will without question, concern or disquiet.


            The Lord Jesus teaches us that if want to be great in the Kingdom, if our heart's desire is to be able to bless multitudes of people in significant ways and deliver groaning creation, these child-like qualities must be in us and abound.  They must be the law of our life.  When we are humble, growing, inquisitive, yielded, pliable, trusting, searching, and learning as we walk with God we become that little child who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  By these principles established as the nature of our being we are empowered to assume a role in the rule of God to be made salvation unto the ends of the earth.  When we are able to fully trust God for all that we need; when we really commit our way and all that touches and enters our experience into His loving hands; when we follow on to know Him in all His glorious fullness, as a child grows up knowing and learning everything from his parents: there is a release into our life of the inexhaustible riches of His grace and glory the depth of His understanding, the vastness of His wisdom and knowledge, the purity of His nature, the omniscience of His mind, the justice of His ways, the unlimitedness of His love, the unmeasurableness of His grace, the absoluteness of His authority, the omnipotence of His power, the fullness of His Spirit, the endlessness of His mercy, the bountifulness of His goodness, the incorruptibleness of His life and the unsurpassed splendor of His majesty.


            As these powers are released into our life, we in turn become a channel for them to flow out to humanity.  Such high and mighty purpose is certainly beyond the comprehension of the natural man and the carnal mind.  The truth and wonder of it all solemnly teaches us how it is that in the glorious and wonderful wisdom of the heavenly scheme  it is not in becoming childish, but by becoming child-like, that a person is able to attain unto greatness in the Kingdom of God. 


            In closing this thought I am moved to share these poignant words from brother Paul Mueller: “What a practical lesson for us!  When we entered the kingdom by being begotten of the Spirit, we came as a little child.  We came into the kingdom knowing little, with no background of experiences in the Spirit.  As transgressors, we came into the kingdom just as we were, bringing nothing with us that might have hindered our entrance into His kingdom.  Now the kingdom of God is coming into the earth in a greater way.  And we must come into its greater glory as a little child.  When we come as a child, we turn from the ways of the past.  We leave past truths and doctrines behind.  What was truth yesterday, during the church age, is either fulfilled, or is raised to a higher level, to be fulfilled by the Spirit in a greater way.  Having come to the greater glory of the kingdom of God, as it is revealed in this new Day, we must come AS a little child.  In spiritual reality we are starting over.  As more mature sons of God we know the great truth that we grow spiritually by denying self.  We grow spiritually by learning.  And we can only learn by becoming AS little children.  We have not yet attained unto all that God has for us, for we have much more to learn and experience of God and His kingdom.  The apostle Paul was unquestionably one of the great spiritual leaders of his time.  Yet, near the end of his life, he said, ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 3:13-14).  Those who really see this new Day and the greater glory of the kingdom of God are truly ‘forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.  They are pressing toward ‘the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’  Keep pressing on, saints of God!  The prize of the high calling of God in Christ is not far away!


            “When the kingdom of God even more fully comes to the earth, the anointed word of the Lord declares, ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young  lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp (an adder or poisonous viper), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ (a similar poisonous viper) den’ (Isa. 11:6-8).  What a wonderful change shall take place as the reign of Christ transforms every living creature.  And ‘a little child,’ which is the comparatively small manchild company or the elect remnant, shall lead them into the fullness of the kingdom of God.  Then, the peace and harmony of the kingdom of God shall prevail among all creatures everywhere.  And every word declared by our Father shall be completely and totally fulfilled.


            “May the Lord help us all understand the vital importance and significance of our present walk with God.  As we walk this kingdom pathway, being led of the Spirit to make the transition from the old age to the new, we are thereby marking out a clear path to the kingdom of God for the rest of the creation to follow.  We are indeed that ‘little child’ that is leading the whole creation into the greater fullness of the kingdom of God.  Our ‘greater works’ ministry is a sure work of the Spirit.  It is unseen by the carnal-minded, but it is leading the creation to a glory that shall ultimately be fulfilled in due time.  The ‘little child,’ or this corporate, Christ-man, shall bring righteousness, peace and justice to the mountain of the Lord, which shall then flow down to the whole creation, making it all new by the sovereign power of our mighty King of kings and Lord of lords”   end quote.

            To be continued...                                                                                          



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